Message Boards Message Boards

Motivation and Results

Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?

Toggle
Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? Josh Kelly 1/13/14 6:20 AM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? Zyndo Zyhion 1/14/14 4:39 AM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? sawfoot _ 1/13/14 9:58 AM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? Josh Kelly 1/13/14 11:08 AM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? Fitter Stoke 1/13/14 10:59 AM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? Josh Kelly 1/13/14 12:11 PM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? Fitter Stoke 1/13/14 1:02 PM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? Dream Walker 1/13/14 5:26 PM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? Fitter Stoke 1/13/14 6:08 PM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? B B 1/13/14 4:31 PM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? J C 1/18/14 7:07 PM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? B B 1/19/14 6:35 AM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? Bill F. 1/19/14 8:02 PM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? B B 1/20/14 9:07 AM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? Bill F. 1/20/14 5:20 PM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? J C 1/21/14 12:37 AM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? Bill F. 1/21/14 9:48 PM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? J C 1/21/14 11:03 PM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? Dream Walker 1/21/14 11:12 PM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? J C 1/21/14 12:39 AM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? Dream Walker 1/13/14 5:42 PM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? Tom Tom 1/14/14 5:41 AM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? Pål S. 1/16/14 3:59 AM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? Tom Tom 1/16/14 6:57 PM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? Pål S. 1/17/14 4:07 AM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? Tom Tom 1/22/14 4:16 PM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? Jane Laurel Carrington 1/14/14 3:43 PM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? Josh Kelly 1/16/14 5:12 AM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? Curt Welling 1/16/14 6:37 AM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? Curt Welling 1/18/14 3:49 PM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? Jane Laurel Carrington 1/19/14 9:15 AM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? T DC 1/20/14 12:11 AM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? johan christiaan hellemons 1/20/14 7:40 PM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? T DC 1/22/14 3:46 PM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? johan christiaan hellemons 1/23/14 5:50 PM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? T DC 1/23/14 6:12 PM
RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path? johan christiaan hellemons 1/24/14 11:27 AM
I am so grateful to have found this website. I appear to be on a spiritual path on one way or another, but I am so sick of feel-good and incredibly vague spiritual teachers - finding first MCTB and then DhO has been really really relieving. I hope it's active enough to get a response to my question here.

I'll give as a brief a summary to my question as possible, and then try to give a bit more background that may or may not be helpful.

Summary:

Like most people, my question in its essence is, "what does moving forward look like for me, and how do I move forward?" ...But luckily I have a bit more direction to my question than that. After many days of contemplation of what is different in my life now from what I desire my life to look like, I've come up with an answer that feels right on the money:

I want to get fulfillment (a sense of satisfaction, wholeness, worthwhileness, a feeling of quality/value) from life itself, simply from being alive, rather than from directions, goals, or purposes that seem to arise and fall away relatively quickly

I know in any given moment I can look around and appreciate that I'm alive and be grateful and all that shit, but that's kind of like the intellectual concept of fulfillment from being alive. Or more of an appreciation for being alive rather than a deep internal knowing that this is what my life is all about. Do you understand the difference I'm trying to clarify?

I can sit here conceptualizing about how the purpose of life it life itself, but it doesn't mean my life is any better when I stop thinking about it, or when I wake up in the morning with this sickening anxiety that I am useless in the grandest sense and my life has no purpose. What I'm talking about here is more or less the permanent effortless state of fulfillment from being alive.

I guess I imagine this state of fulfillment to answer the question I've been tormented by for the past 5 years of my 22 years of life. The question of the meaning and purpose of my life. To essentially answer the question by making it irrelevant.

Is that goal a fantasy dream I've been sold, like eternal blissed-out drug states or permanent all-knowing no-feeling transcendence is fantasy, or is that a realistic achievable goal?

If it is achievable, is that what is meant by "enlightenment"? Is it a side-effect of "enlightenment"? Or maybe, is it achievable but has nothing to do with enlightenment (more in the realm of psychology maybe than spirituality)?


Your thoughts and insights on this personally dire question are much appreciated. Thank You!


Somemore background in case your interested or it helps you answer my questions:

-I am 22 years old, currently in Thailand. I've been here for the past 3 months. I just finished getting a dive master certification, which I don't really plan on using so much, at least not as a career. I spent most of last year learning to make money passively online, and I currently earn about 600/month which is just enough for me to live on here, as I don't spend much. I have 2 years toward a college degree. I have pretty much no plans for the future, except for my visa run tomorrow.

-The issue of meaning and purpose has bothered me since I can remember. I seem to have a pattern of grabbing onto some goal of how I'm going to change something (myself, the world, other people's lives) for the better, dedicating myself completely to that goal with full abandon, and then eventually completing that goal, or no longer believing the assumptions that made the change necessary or better. Once the goal falls away, I go back to the despair of being useless and purposeless. I have a feeling somehow this relates to my identity being attached to goals and purposes, and maybe its possible to remove or see through that attachment... Does that have anything to do with awakening/enlightenment? Is it a part of the hardcore buddha path?

-I had a girlfriend since high school whom I loved very very much that I broke up with last summer. I can't even tell you why, except that I just knew I needed to. Somehow I just knew that was the next step for me. Really more or less since then, with a few brief interludes, my life has lost all sense of purpose and meaning, and I've been floating in this bath of uselessness. I have distinct lack of motivation for most future oriented things and life plan kind of stuff. What has come into my life is spirituality, and the direction I've had is some vague idea of things getting better when I become enlightened...

-About 4 months ago my therapist turned me onto Adyashanti, and as I got into it he eventually told me he thought I was going down a path that was beyond his ability to help me with. I turned deeper to Adya's books with varying degrees of intensity, and worked the "true meditation" and "inquiry" practices he talks about. I found Jed McKenna's book Spiritual Enlightenment: The Damnedest Thing about 2 weeks ago, and it really blew my world apart. I stopped going out and stopped hanging out with diver folks and read and wrote and questioned my beliefs until the point where I thought I was going completely insane. I felt like I was losing grip on reality, which part of me thought was the whole point. I guess I had this belief that I needed to do that in order to get to this special place called enlightenment. And when I questioned that belief, I really started to go off the deep end. Now, somehow I've pulled myself out from that insanity and I feel as if I had my head up my ass for the past week! Like I was manifesting my own reality by believing I needed to go crazy, be a loner-hermit, and lose all grip on reality in order to achieve something, that I really started to doubt even exists. The fucking E word.

Back to square one now, it would appear. Maybe I've made some progress toward something in some way. Maybe this was a dark night and not just a self-induced depression. I don't really know where I'm going though anymore. But here I am, not so insane, but with no purpose or direction again. Somehow I stumbled on MCTB and the rationality of it was amazingly refreshing. I've spent the past two days trying to clarify what it is I want. Now I'm here, trying to ask you guys if what I want is even possible or if I should go back to the drawing board.

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/14/14 4:39 AM as a reply to Josh Kelly.
Josh Kelly:


I want to get fulfillment (a sense of satisfaction, wholeness, worthwhileness, a feeling of quality/value) from life itself, simply from being alive, rather than from directions, goals, or purposes that seem to arise and fall away relatively quickly

Is that goal a fantasy dream I've been sold, like eternal blissed-out drug states or permanent all-knowing no-feeling transcendence is fantasy, or is that a realistic achievable goal?

If it is achievable, is that what is meant by "enlightenment"? Is it a side-effect of "enlightenment"? Or maybe, is it achievable but has nothing to do with enlightenment (more in the realm of psychology maybe than spirituality)?


The fucking E word.

Now I'm here, trying to ask you guys if what I want is even possible.


Well, below are the traditional definitions of the different stages of enlightenment. People tend to question some aspects of the traditional models of attainment, such as can a Sotapana kill, such as with a bug inadvertently or intentionally and can they drink alcohol, inadvertently or intensionally. Can they get angry, such as if there is an expression of something that looks like anger, is it actually anger as we experience it?

Faith in the path, is most strongly developed through experience. In Rangoon in Burma the famous Mahasi Meditation centre is there, go and try it, see if in retreat you notice the development of the different stage. The stages of the Path, including substages, by Daniel Ingram.
Talks by Ingram, start with the Hurricane Ranch talks.

Daniel tends to talk about getting it done, but its good to keep in mind it can be a bit of a journey. A good place to start is with a 3 month retreat, its said this is a good level of time to allow for the possibility of attainment, (I've done three 3 months and I haven't attained, though I have clearly moved through all the stage, bar the last substage.). When you have a better base of experience with this style of meditation, you will be able to ask better questions on how to get better at it.

Lastly people like Ken Wilber, talk about the different types of Meditation, and their benefits. Vipassana is a kind of meditation that develops tolerance, and its goal is a flowing type of acceptance, it doesn't make you happy and blissful all the time. Jhana meditation's goal is to make you happy and blissful all the time. Buddhist argue that this is not permanent though, so actually its not all the time. Enlightened people still experience pain, its just that their mind doesn't create aversion or hatred to this. They still experience pleasure its just that their mind doesn't become full of craving and lust, and then sadness when it is gone.

So there isn't an easy path to happiness, it will take some work. It took Ingram seven year to attain Arhat, I believe. It may take me seven years to attain stream entry, I've been working on it for four years, and have done at least one year in retreat. Why don't you try to do 2 years of retreat. Take a one month rest every three months and then go back into retreat.

The Pali canon's Sutta Pitaka identifies ten "fetters of becoming": enlightenment is usually defined in terms of what it has removed, rather than what it is. Such as, enlightenment is, satisfaction, wholeness, worthwhileness, a feeling of quality/value.

1. belief in a self
2. doubt or uncertainty, especially about the teachings
3. attachment to rites and rituals
4. sensual desire
5. ill will
6. lust for material existence, lust for material rebirth
7. lust for immaterial existence, lust for rebirth in a formless realm
8. conceit
9. restlessness
10. ignorance

First Path: A Sotāpanna or stream-winner is a person who has eradicated the first three fetters. According to the Pali Commentary, six types of defilement would be abandoned by a Sotāpanna:
Envy
Jealousy
Hypocrisy
Fraud
Denigration
Domineering

Second Path. The fetters of which the Sakadagami is free are:
1. Sakkāya-diṭṭhi (Pali) - Belief in self
2. Vicikicchā (Pali) - Skeptical doubt
3. Sīlabbata-parāmāsa (Pali) - Attachment to rites and rituals
The Sakadagami also significantly weakened the chains of:
4. Kāma-rāga (Pali) - Sensuous craving
5. Byāpāda (Pali) - Ill-will (all forms of anger)

The Sakadagami is an intermediate stage between the Sotapanna, who still has comparatively strong sensuous desire and ill-will, and the Anagami, who is completely free from sensuous desire and ill-will.

The fetters of which an Anagami is free are:
1. Sakkāya-diṭṭhi: Belief in self
2. Vicikicchā: Skeptical doubt
3. Sīlabbata-parāmāsa: Attachment to rites and rituals
4. Kāma-rāga: Sensuous craving
5. Byāpāda: Ill will

The fetters from which an Arhat is free are the former and these:
6. Rūpa-rāga: Craving for fine-material existence (the first 4 jhanas)
7. Arūpa-rāga: Craving for immaterial existence (the last 4 jhanas)
8. Māna: Conceit
9. Uddhacca: Restlessness
10. Avijjā: Ignorance

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/13/14 9:58 AM as a reply to Josh Kelly.
Hi Josh,

>> "I want to get fulfillment (a sense of satisfaction, wholeness, worthwhileness, a feeling of quality/value) from life itself, simply from being alive, rather than from directions, goals, or purposes that seem to arise and fall away relatively quickly.

>> I can sit here conceptualizing about how the purpose of life it life itself, but it doesn't mean my life is any better when I stop thinking about it, or when I wake up in the morning with this sickening anxiety that I am useless in the grandest sense and my life has no purpose. What I'm talking about here is more or less the permanent effortless state of fulfillment from being alive.

>> I guess I imagine this state of fulfillment to answer the question I've been tormented by for the past 5 years of my 22 years of life. The question of the meaning and purpose of my life. To essentially answer the question by making it irrelevant."


You, human being, are useless in the grandest sense. Your life has no meaning, in the grandest sense. Of course, some human beings believe that they have a purpose and life has meaning. For some, God gives them that. For some, it comes from active participation in the cosmic dance of endless reincarnations and eventually its escape into oblivion. Others have to settle for making what meaning they can in this world.

Do you want to live a good life, a life well lived? Do you think you deserve to feel satisfaction, wholeness, worthwhileness, a feeling of quality/value in the absence of a good life? Will you have earned it?


"Once the goal falls away, I go back to the despair of being useless and purposeless. I have a feeling somehow this relates to my identity being attached to goals and purposes, and maybe its possible to remove or see through that attachment….my life has lost all sense of purpose and meaning, and I've been floating in this bath of uselessness. I have distinct lack of motivation for most future oriented things and life plan kind of stuff. What has come into my life is spirituality, and the direction I've had is some vague idea of things getting better when I become enlightened…"


Yes, your identify is attached to goals and purposes. You are a human being. If you are hanging around on a beach in Thailand, drifting through life, then you are going to feel useless and purposeless, if your mind is inclined that way.

It is very clear what you want. You want a sense of purpose and direction. And your quest for a state where you think you don't need purpose or direction is just another direction, goal and purpose. Perhaps committing to something is better than nothing. This quest may arise and pass, or it may not. I don't know much about enlightenment. At the least, you may make progress in seeing better how that attachment operates, and letting it have a lesser hold on you.

But I reckon you might also might get out of this funk once you find and commit to a career for yourself. Though you don't have to "find it". You can't follow your passion if you don't have passion, and following your passion might be bad advice anyhow. You are likely never going to find it, as you aren't ever going to come up an answer that satisfies you. Stop feeling useless by making yourself useful. You just have to go out there and fucking do it.

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/13/14 10:59 AM as a reply to Josh Kelly.
I can sit here conceptualizing about how the purpose of life it life itself, but it doesn't mean my life is any better when I stop thinking about it, or when I wake up in the morning with this sickening anxiety that I am useless in the grandest sense and my life has no purpose. What I'm talking about here is more or less the permanent effortless state of fulfillment from being alive.

I guess I imagine this state of fulfillment to answer the question I've been tormented by for the past 5 years of my 22 years of life. The question of the meaning and purpose of my life. To essentially answer the question by making it irrelevant.

Is that goal a fantasy dream I've been sold, like eternal blissed-out drug states or permanent all-knowing no-feeling transcendence is fantasy, or is that a realistic achievable goal?

If it is achievable, is that what is meant by "enlightenment"? Is it a side-effect of "enlightenment"? Or maybe, is it achievable but has nothing to do with enlightenment (more in the realm of psychology maybe than spirituality)?


Yeah. Definitely. But you're going to need to reframe this in a way that's less perfectionistic. From the way you're talking, it sounds like you expect to have some epiphany, turning point, clap of thunder, what have you, and this feeling of meaninglessness, anxiety, uncertainty, whatever is just going to vanish, never come back, and everything will be hunky-dory. It's important to take into consideration, first of all, that not everyone has a sudden enlightenment experience like this. Some people do, but they seem to be rare as compared with those who find ourselves on a more gradual path that is punctuated by peak experiences and aftermaths followed by reflection and realization of deep, substantive change over the long-run. So while I doubt I can dissuade you from sitting in your room and thinking about this stuff until your head explodes, I predict that if you keep at this long enough, you'll eventually realize that you're going to be on this ride for awhile, and straining yourself and alienating yourself to that extent is not as productive or useful as you now think. I could be wrong, but that's my prediction.

The other thing you need to take on board - maybe not right this minute, but eventually should you choose to follow this thing out - is that enlightened people still experience confusion about life, uncertainty about what they're doing, internal conflict over intimacy, and feelings of vulnerability and even dread. What makes enlightened people different from unenlightened people isn't the absence of negative feelings or problems in their lives. It's the way those feelings and problems are understood at an experiential level. There is a world of difference between being angry with what someone has done and believing that the anger belongs to an "I", is an "I", is in an "I", is a property of "I", etc. It's the difference between being aware of the anger, accepting the anger, giving space to the anger, and being able to make the right decisions on the basis of the anger on the one hand, and being commanded by the anger and having the anger spiral out of control on the other. This project of awakening isn't about getting rid of anything other than the meta-narratives - the lack of acceptance of things in our experience - which is the real source of misery, not the feelings or experiences themselves.

And then the other thing is that it's possible to be very awake in some areas of your life but hardly at all in others. You can have a profound awakening at a physio-energetic level but still have all sorts of painful dualisms going on at the level of emotions. Or you might be very awake with regard to some emotions (like sadness) but still have tremendous difficulty with other emotions (anxiety). As enlightened as you get, you may still find yourself triggered by certain situations. It's what the enlightened person is able to do in those triggered circumstances that sets them apart, not by the absence of the triggers themselves.

All that being said, I have two recommendations for you. The first is to pick a practice and embrace it for a period of at least 10 weeks. Find something that seems to work for you and which is given by an enlightened teacher (something in a book is fine), and follow the teacher's instructions without deviation, at least 6 days a week, for that period of time. Committing yourself to one practice regularly just on its own will help calm things down for you by introducing more consistency into your life.

The second thing I suggest doing is to get to know some people who have done what you want to do (or suspect you want to do). This will serve two purposes. It will help inspire you, and it will help bring the concept of "enlightenment" down to earth for you. It's very important that you see that enlightened beings are human beings. They have deep flaws just like anyone else. They have areas of their life they suck at. This should help take some of the pressure of expectation off of you, which in turn will help your practice and make it easier for you to become enlightened.

Let us know how it goes and if you have any questions.

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/13/14 11:08 AM as a reply to sawfoot _.
I was a bit too caught up in myself to ask this question when I wrote the first post, but it seems appropriate now. Maybe it deserves its own thread, but I'll just keep it here for now.

For other the seekers and practitioners (is there a difference?) reading this:

What is your goal? What are you seeking? Why are you into meditation/buddha's teachings/the dharma? Why are you hanging out on this site right now? What do you want to be different about your current life or experience of life that you believe being here, or meditating will help change?

I mean to get at your core motivations for spirituality, and get as specific as possible. I ask this as a seeker myself who is trying to look into the core of my own motivations.

I know Daniel tends to focus on the practice, and, at least as I've seen so far, doesn't really talk about the core Why of all this, but I think its important, at least for me, to know why....



You, human being, are useless in the grandest sense. Your life has no meaning, in the grandest sense. Of course, some human beings believe that they have a purpose and life has meaning. For some, God gives them that. For some, it comes from active participation in the cosmic dance of endless reincarnations and eventually its escape into oblivion. Others have to settle for making what meaning they can in this world.


To respond to the others, first I just want to say thanks for the responses and that I appreciate the above quote as it validates my experience. Most of the people I talk to about this kind of thing don't really see that, so its been hard to find people to talk to about this.

As another quick note, I think I have some contemplation to do around this very good challenge: "Do you want to live a good life, a life well lived? Do you think you deserve to feel satisfaction, wholeness, worthwhileness, a feeling of quality/value in the absence of a good life?" Thanks for that.

The more reading I do, the more I start to suspect I've been in a bit of a Dark Night. I mean, hard to say. I need to dig into MCTB a lot more deeply, but there have definitely been some strange experiences that might be A&Ps, and this definition of the Dark Night that I found from a site called Shinzen's Blog feels spot on: "difficulty integrating the experience of no self"

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/13/14 12:11 PM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Wow. Wow. There are waves of tingly warmth and gratitude coming through my body. Thank you for this kind response.

Yeah. Definitely. But you're going to need to reframe this in a way that's less perfectionistic. From the way you're talking, it sounds like you expect to have some epiphany, turning point, clap of thunder, what have you, and this feeling of meaninglessness, anxiety, uncertainty, whatever is just going to vanish, never come back, and everything will be hunky-dory.


You're to unwind one of my biggest delusions about the process of enlightenment (maybe a less loaded way of saying it would be wisdom development) . That's, to a large extent, why I got fascinated with MCTB, because Daniel so carefully and clearly goes into process explanation. I was under the impression that there is some kind of big burst and you are enlightened (Yes, I know it sounds ridiculous to believe this... oh well)

Both of my most influential teachers to date have in their own ways, described kind of an instantaneous shift and you know you are done. That's the end of the road when it comes to enlightenment. You're there. Adyashanti talks about "a deeper awakening" about 6 years after his "initial awakening." He says after his deeper awakening, the seeker in him fell away. Jed McKenna talks about "the first step" where your world falls apart, and then about 2 years later (slightly different for different people) a sense of just "being done".

Can you, Fitter, or anyone else familiar with this stuff reflect on that a bit? Is that how it is? Does the seeker, the yearning for something greater drop away? Is there a knowing of "I'm done"?

And is it possible to relate it to Daniel's models? ...if these models have any basis in reality - not just these dude's unique experiences.

straining yourself and alienating yourself to that extent is not as productive or useful as you now think


That's sort of the conclusion I've been reaching too. Makes me feel kind of foolish for hiding my cave the way I did, but that's ok.

What makes enlightened people different from unenlightened people isn't the absence of negative feelings or problems in their lives. It's the way those feelings and problems are understood at an experiential level. This project of awakening isn't about getting rid of anything other than the meta-narratives - the lack of acceptance of things in our experience - which is the real source of misery, not the feelings or experiences themselves.


Is that sort of like, I might experience this feeling of being completely lost, or confused, or even in great emotional (or physical) pain but not really experience that as a problem? Like I might have essentially the exact same week (although I would probably make different decisions with a different interpretation of feelings, but for the sake of discussion lets say exact same week) and not find any essential problem with it? Is that what you're talking about or am I missing the mark?

I appreciate the recommendation to pick a practice. I will look into some and pick one. Perhaps the insight meditation suggested in MCTB would be a good place to start.

The second thing I suggest doing is to get to know some people who have done what you want to do (or suspect you want to do).


YES! Absolutely 100% agreed. Even just some friends interested in the same thing as me seems like a good place to start. I didn't know or think about that there are that many people interested in all this, let alone genuinely enlightened people that don't cost a lot of money to go see for 10 minutes. That I could actually get to know on a personable level. I'm not usually particularly anti-social, but I've been feeling pretty isolated even with old friends because they aren't interested in what's slowly becoming kind of the central focus of my life.

This forum seems like a good place to start. Any other places to look that you can recommend, especially for finding actually enlightened people to get to know?

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/13/14 1:02 PM as a reply to Josh Kelly.
Can you, Fitter, or anyone else familiar with this stuff reflect on that a bit? Is that how it is? Does the seeker, the yearning for something greater drop away? Is there a knowing of "I'm done"?


Yes ... no ... sort of?

I've encountered a few people on this path who at one time or another said they were Done with a capital D. What they found out later on was that they were done in a sense but not in others.

And even if it were possible to be DONE as a really done thing, what do you think happens? You think you have this big, bright smile on your face all the time, that you walk into a room and you light it up and everyone gathers around you? That your life is settled and resolved now and you know what to do in all situations?

Enlightened people still have to figure out how to make money (unless they're monastics). They still have to figure out how to be close to other people. They still have to wait in line behind annoying people at the store. They still get sick or pissed off.

I'm ducking this question about models because it's not an appropriate question at this point. The most pertinent things are (1) committing to a practice and (2) spending some time around people who have done what you're trying to do. If you want to do the Adyashanti stuff, then go for it. Try to get in touch with people who have been doing that practice for a long time, though. And I don't mean just for the purpose of playing 20 questions. Spend some time around them - an online forum is sometimes helpful - and just get to experience through osmosis what these people are like. You'll probably be surprised at how flawed people are, how unreflective and bitchy and reactive they can be. That doesn't mean they're not enlightened; it just means they're human beings.

Or if you want to do more of the vipassana-style approach, you can hang around here. There don't seem to be too many advanced practitioners posting here regularly, though. You might try Kenneth Folk's site. I recommend lurking and getting a sense of what people are like.

But really, pick up a practice and get started. This is not the sort of thing you can figure out in your head first. You have to force yourself to drop some of the perfectionism. And that's with regard to other people, too. Of course lots of people in your life won't understand what you're doing, but that's okay. They don't have to for interactions with them to be worthwhile. It's not either/or.

Is that sort of like, I might experience this feeling of being completely lost, or confused, or even in great emotional (or physical) pain but not really experience that as a problem? Like I might have essentially the exact same week (although I would probably make different decisions with a different interpretation of feelings, but for the sake of discussion lets say exact same week) and not find any essential problem with it? Is that what you're talking about or am I missing the mark?


Yes, that's it. That quality is called "equanimity". It's not the entirety of the enlightenment experience, but it's a huge part of it, and it makes living a lot easier.

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/13/14 4:31 PM as a reply to Josh Kelly.
The widespread and traditional definition of full enlightenment is that it is a complete absence of suffering (see for example “The Foundations of Buddhism” by Rupert Gethin). It looks like this can be done (“The Path to Arahatship” by Ajahn Maha Bua, testimony of the user 'Omega Point' on this forum, passages in the Pali cannon describing monks attaining arahatship), but there is a dearth of evidence for it as there is a rule forbidding monks from disclosing their attainments to lay people (see the Vinaya Pitaka), and claiming attainments is taboo among lay practitioners (see MCTB ). It appears to be almost unheard of for western practitioners to attain to beyond the stage of Sakadagami (see “After the Ecstasy, the Laundry” by Jack Kornfield (I haven't read much of this)), and a few even deny that it can be done at all and instead choose to redefine the criteria for it, e.g. Daniel Ingram, founder of this forum, and Kenneth Folk of KFD. However, those lay practitioners who are beyond MCTB 3rd/4th path and willing to talk openly about their experience (many on this forum, you could try searching for “MCTB 3rd path”), generally describe it as being vastly better (less fundamental suffering, anxiety, neuroticism, greater mental acuity, less ruled by cravings) than pre-awakening, but still with inevitable DN periods that may last for several months or longer (this has been gleaned from reading the DhO and KFD regularly over the past year). (The potential downsides and pitfalls of initial awakening (apart from the cycling) are described in detail in “The End of Your World” by Adyashanti. As the title suggests, there's also the possibility that almost everything that once drove you is seen to be founded in ego, craving and delusion. It can also be isolating, due to seeing the world in a fundamental and radically different way.) The DN periods can be so crippling that you may find it difficult to lead a “full” life with a family, full-time intellectually demanding job, education demands, etc., unless you deliberately ease-up on vipassana or reach a point (such as MCTB 4th path) where the cycling no longer has such a severe effect (again, from DhO/KFD posts, personal experience). All that said, having completed dozens of cycles at this point, I'd personally unconditionally recommend it: the most appropriate analogy I can think of is that it's honestly like the experience of Neo in the original Matrix film. You have woken up to the real world, like it's almost that jarring - but you couldn't put a price on it.

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/13/14 5:26 PM as a reply to Fitter Stoke.
Fitter Stoke:
Or if you want to do more of the vipassana-style approach, you can hang around here. There don't seem to be too many advanced practitioners posting here regularly, though.

Fitter, I miss you, and Tommy too. Please hang out more. Seriously emoticon (Not to press you but I've noticed at 3rd path + people disappear...care to speculate?)
~D

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/13/14 5:42 PM as a reply to Josh Kelly.
Josh Kelly:
Back to square one now, it would appear. Maybe I've made some progress toward something in some way. Maybe this was a dark night and not just a self-induced depression. I don't really know where I'm going though anymore. But here I am, not so insane, but with no purpose or direction again. Somehow I stumbled on MCTB and the rationality of it was amazingly refreshing. I've spent the past two days trying to clarify what it is I want. Now I'm here, trying to ask you guys if what I want is even possible or if I should go back to the drawing board.

Here is a pragmatic approach....Read up on the insite/vipasanna cycles esp the dark night and start noticing if you are truly in it. If so, you are on the bus and there is no getting off. You're kinda screwed in a way so now make the most of it....the only way thru it is forward...get to equanimity and push each day to stay there or shoot for stream entry. Or you can distract yourself as best you can in dead ends like drinking and drugs and sex and power/position/control games. Your choice. Choose wisely.
Best of luck
(by the way, the path is hard but fantastic)
~D

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/13/14 6:08 PM as a reply to Dream Walker.
Dream Walker:
Fitter Stoke:
Or if you want to do more of the vipassana-style approach, you can hang around here. There don't seem to be too many advanced practitioners posting here regularly, though.

Fitter, I miss you, and Tommy too. Please hang out more. Seriously emoticon (Not to press you but I've noticed at 3rd path + people disappear...care to speculate?)
~D


I just don't have time for nonsense - people who only want to argue or piss on other people's corn flakes - and there seems to be enough of it here that I've chosen to focus on other things.

The past four months have also been really busy - in a good way - so there's that.

I do respond in a timely fashion to all PMs, however, so I am available that way. I'm just not gregarious enough to keep putting energy into the public forums.

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/14/14 5:41 AM as a reply to Josh Kelly.
What I'm talking about here is more or less the permanent effortless state of fulfillment from being alive.

I guess I imagine this state of fulfillment to answer the question I've been tormented by for the past 5 years of my 22 years of life. The question of the meaning and purpose of my life. To essentially answer the question by making it irrelevant.

Is that goal a fantasy dream I've been sold, like eternal blissed-out drug states or permanent all-knowing no-feeling transcendence is fantasy, or is that a realistic achievable goal?

If it is achievable, is that what is meant by "enlightenment"? Is it a side-effect of "enlightenment"? Or maybe, is it achievable but has nothing to do with enlightenment (more in the realm of psychology maybe than spirituality)?


No that goal is not a fantasy like a permanent "blissed out drug state." You seem to have a very grounded and realistic understanding of what you would like and expect to happen. You just are unable to snap your fingers and get it to happen. Yes, you are correct that awakening answers your existential questions by un-answering them. There is more to it than that, of course, but that is the gist of the solution to the problems you are presenting in this post. However, the questions are not un-answered by suppressing them, they are un-answered by realizing an inherent truth: The essence-lessness and agencylessness renders the questions no longer relevant or even sensical, sort of like reverse zen koans.

What is your goal? What are you seeking? Why are you into meditation/buddha's teachings/the dharma? Why are you hanging out on this site right now? What do you want to be different about your current life or experience of life that you believe being here, or meditating will help change?


I am, to a significant extent, no longer seeking and have reached "most of my goals:" An extremely high degree of sanity, peace/ease, contentment, found the true nature of existence. As to why I am on this site it is because that is what causality happens to be doing and as most of "my goals" have been met my reason for posting here is not to change some specific existential or emotional problem with my life as most of if not all of those problems have been solved.

Also to answer your original question in the title:

Should I walk this path?


I will quote Daniel Ingram in a response to an early post I made on this forum as it resounded and stuck with me so I'll repeat it here for you:

"If you have to do this, you should, as it helps with that.
It rights some perspective problem at the core of perception itself and that feels better and helps a lot with many things.
Everyone I know who has done this, after some period of stabilization and disappointment, has told me they think it was worth it, and most rank it among their most important accomplishments." -Daniel M. Ingram

Is that sort of like, I might experience this feeling of being completely lost, or confused, or even in great emotional (or physical) pain but not really experience that as a problem? Like I might have essentially the exact same week (although I would probably make different decisions with a different interpretation of feelings, but for the sake of discussion lets say exact same week) and not find any essential problem with it? Is that what you're talking about or am I missing the mark?


As far as the feelings of confusion and the other emotional pains, you could probably go a bit farther than this to the point where they are greatly attenuated (not suppressed) or totally absent, though the level of realization that you're describing would be a significant marker of progress and likely a necessary stage to pass through before the attenuation and eventual absence occurs. However, some smaller set of "positive" emotions, like laughter, may carry on as externally observed by others which I think is a good thing.

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/14/14 3:43 PM as a reply to Josh Kelly.
I'll put my two cents in, even though a lot of people have given great advice already.

I am much older than you (just turned 60) and read MCTB three years ago this past December. I got on the forum, looked around, and wondered many of the things you are wondering, even though, unlike you, I had a permanent job (academic tenure), a house, a husband, a son, and a long history of therapy and self-help. I also was thoroughly fed up with myself. Everything I had tried to find "happiness" had gone bust. The biggest problem was near-chronic anxiety, punctuated by some nasty phobias.

So I thought, what have I got to lose? I'm doing this. I signed up for a weeklong retreat a few months off, and cast about for a practice to get started. I hit on a concentration practice focusing on the breath at the nostrils for the first five months or so. Then I began to work seriously with noting. I took lessons with Kenneth Folk and his wife Beth. I went to daylong retreats at a local sangha. I had a few more weeklong retreats, and plugged away at it.

Two years ago I got technical model stream entry. Six months later I passed second path, six months after that third. I got what's called technical 4th on October 11. I am of the impression these days that some people are understanding this as fetter model stream entry. I'm good with that. I have no hardened theory of enlightenment, nor am I trying to find one into which I can shoehorn my own experience. I do feel that the seeker is gone, but I don't feel as if everything is over and done with. I just have entered on a new phase of this journey to . . . wherever.

I am no longer much concerned about anxiety. From time to time I get it and then it goes away. I still have miserable stuff to deal with in life. I deal with it, I don't like it, and then it passes. Sometimes I experience grief, sometimes I get hit with existential dread. There's also restlessness, boredom, and irritation. What's nice is it doesn't stick. What is even nicer is that I am no longer a problem for myself. It's not that I have solved The Problem of Me; I've just realized that there is no such problem. There are things I'd like to do, like lose some weight, learn tai chi, and so on. You could describe these things as goals.

One other thing: my situation changes all the time, so there is some kind of development happening. I am not Done, but something feels altered in a significant way. I am not actively meditating at the moment, although I do get in meditative states here and there. I don't feel a drive to meditate, but I can see how it will likely have a place in my life. At this point, what I notice is that a lot of my life occurs with no real center to it. Sometimes it feels as if there is, but mostly sensations arise within and around me and I just flow with it. Some habitual responses persist, like seeking distraction. I can also tell that this body and mind are more harmonious and balanced under some conditions than others.

So: it is by far the most significant thing I have done in my human span. I occasionally look back on decades of intensity and drama and wonder what the fuss was all about. What you choose has to do with a lot of factors. People tell me that motivation is a big one, and I agree. Timing matters as well. I look on my own history and it seems that this was my time. For awhile, before the last shift, I kind of envied people who had gotten through the process earlier in life. Now I no longer think that way. I would agree with Fitter Stoke that if you want to give it a try, start with finding a technique that will get you some momentum. Also hang out with people who are interested in doing this, as he says. I would not counsel you to do a long retreat at this point because it seems to me that you are depressed by some of life's changes, and you need to come to terms with what you have lost. You've left behind the life you knew and are suspended in the midst of a place where you have no commitments. Pursuing this path doesn't free you from the need to have a full, human life, unless you find a particular calling to a life of renunciation, which is a special form of a full, human life. Lots of people are attracted to that life because it seems easy, but it's really fiendishly difficult because it's like boot camp for coming nose to nose with emptiness.

Speaking of which, I also read Jed McKenna, unfortunately at a bad time because I was at that point just on the other side of first path and was having an extreme, prolonged experience of emptiness for which I was not prepared. It all seems like good clean fun until you get pushed over your edge. Teachers and dharma friends are helpful for getting through such moments.

Best of luck to you. Feel free to send a message if you'd like.

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/16/14 3:59 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Tom Tom:
I am, to a significant extent, no longer seeking and have reached "most of my goals:" An extremely high degree of sanity, peace/ease, contentment, found the true nature of existence. As to why I am on this site it is because that is what causality happens to be doing and as most of "my goals" have been met my reason for posting here is not to change some specific existential or emotional problem with my life as most of if not all of those problems have been solved.

Tom, are you cured of mental illness, specifically psychosis? Isn't that kind of a big deal? I mean isn't that considered to be impossible? From my limited knowledge you either alleviate with drugs or 'grow out of it'...?

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/16/14 5:12 AM as a reply to Jane Laurel Carrington.
thanks for your wisdom, everyone who has posted here. I am incredibly grateful. Don't have much to add yet. Its useful to hear your experiences and reflections.

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/16/14 6:37 AM as a reply to Josh Kelly.
Very helpful thread for me, basically a lurker for about a year. This forum has really been important for my fledgling practice, really appreciate the effort and I especially want to thank Daniel for it.

Just wanted to comment as a 53 year old who has worked with a lot of adolescents, you are 22 and the last 5 years have been pretty rough. Hey, that's universal!!! My belief is that all people that age are in a LOT of internal turmoil, even those who seem the most successful. For instance, I'm thinking of all the young athletes at the Olympics this year, basically the best in the world at something. I doubt their experience of late adolescence is any smoother than yours.

The latest research shows that the human brain is not fully mature until age 25 or so, something us older folks all learned the hard way.

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/16/14 6:57 PM as a reply to Pål S..

Tom, are you cured of mental illness, specifically psychosis? Isn't that kind of a big deal? I mean isn't that considered to be impossible? From my limited knowledge you either alleviate with drugs or 'grow out of it'...?


Hi Pal,

I actually still take some of the drug quetiapine (brand name: seroquel) daily as well as gram doses of niacin and a few other vitamins as per the directions of the late Abram Hoffer. I also have to restrict myself from certain foods that trigger symptoms. Dr. Hoffer stated that most of his patients were eventually taken off their tranquilizers after they fully recovered from their psychosis and they stayed that way and that also seems to be the direction in which I am eventually headed. I am still taking some quetiapine, but the vast majority of the "psychosis" symptoms I used to have at such a dosage are gone. All mood problems (any state of depression of any degree/mania/hypomania) have been completely absent for several years.

I would say that I'm not completely cured of psychosis yet but probably will be in the next several years. It isn't a particularly huge deal as there are a significantly large number of reports of large doses of vitamins, particularly niacin, as well as restricting food items someone has become allergic to curing psychosis in the orthomolecular literature. Tranquilizers are also used in many cases, but gradually withdrawn over years or kept to a very low dose. It is considered "quack" treatment by mainstream psychiatry, but I'm certain this is a complete fallacy.

See these references if you're interested:

Lots of evidence in this comprehensive book (specifically chapter III) that adrenochrome and adrenolutin are psychoactive: http://www.erowid.org/library/books_online/hallucinogens_hoffer_osmond.pdf

Doctor Hoffer refutes 1973 American series of studies stating vitamins don't work: http://www.doctoryourself.com/APA_Reply_Hoffer.pdf

By Dr. Richard Kunin: Manganese and Niacin prevent and cure drug induced dyskinesias (particularly tardive dyskinesia though including akathisia).

http://orthomolecular.org/library/jom/1976/pdf/1976-v05n01-p004.pdf

Relationship between bipolar disorder ( manic-depressive illness) and schizophrenia:

http://www.thefreelibrary.com/Bipolar+disorder+and+orthomolecular+treatment.-a0213722863

Other important books:

http://www.hdfoster.com/sites/hdfoster.com/files/users/user10/WhatReallyCausesSchizophreniawithp54.pdf

http://www.amazon.com/Healing-Schizophrenia-Complementary-Vitamin-Treatments-ebook/dp/B001QOGJ4U/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389917681&sr=8-1&keywords=healing+schizophrenia

http://www.amazon.com/Orthomolecular-Treatment-Schizophrenia-Health-Guides-ebook/dp/B000PY3EZY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1389917703&sr=8-1&keywords=orthomolecular+treatment+for+schizophrenia

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/17/14 4:07 AM as a reply to Tom Tom.
Thanks, interesting stuff. Apart from the vitamins and dietary restrictions what role would you say contemplative practices have played?

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/18/14 3:49 PM as a reply to Jane Laurel Carrington.
Very helpful post for me, thank you very much. I'm about to turn 53 and found MCTB and started meditating one year ago. I've just been dabbling but you have inspired me to get much more serious.

I changed my screen name, formerly Mosagra, inspired by some other recent posts to use my real name. I'm a physician assistant in central ky.

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/18/14 7:07 PM as a reply to B B.
B B:
It appears to be almost unheard of for western practitioners to attain to beyond the stage of Sakadagami (see “After the Ecstasy, the Laundry” by Jack Kornfield (I haven't read much of this)), and a few even deny that it can be done at all and instead choose to redefine the criteria for it, e.g. Daniel Ingram, founder of this forum, and Kenneth Folk of KFD.


Since it wasn't clear from B B's post, I would like to make clear that this isn't the perspective of Ingram and Folk, as far as I'm aware. They would not agree that they are "redefining" anything, rather stripping away some of the myths and superstitions regarding enlightenment. Here's a great essay by Kenneth Folk on this: http://kennethfolkdharma.com/2013/07/1610/

From that essay:

"So it looks as though the meanings of the words Buddha and arahat changed over time, with more and more powers and attributes layered on. Eventually, the lists of things arahats could do and the lists of things they had left behind became so long that no living person, past or present could reasonably be expected to make the cut. This is where we find ourselves today, assuming we believe the currently popular (among Buddhists) kitchen-sink version of enlightenment."

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/19/14 6:35 AM as a reply to J C.
From Kenneth's essay:
It is false to assume that there is One Right Way to interpret ancient texts


So when it says "end of", "release from" or "freedom from" "all suffering", he and Daniel Ingram see "some suffering" or "most suffering". When it says the fetter of becoming is "totally destroyed", he reads that as "partially destroyed" or "mostly destroyed"*. Etc. Unfortunately, I don't have the time right now to provide more examples, but the use of unequivocal language to describe full enlightenment does seem to be widespread in the Pali cannon.

Both are much older, more experienced, and more widely read practitioners than I am, so I hope they know what they're doing. But I personally can't see how one can reasonably claim that the definition of full enlightenment provided by these texts is up for fundamental reinterpretation in this way.

*Edit: the latest model of his that I could find shows that he's still making substantial progress as late as April 2012, and at that point (stage 8) there was still some remaining "need for social status, need to be right, need to please others", yet he appears to consider stage 5 equivalent to the arahatship of the 10 fetters model.

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/19/14 9:15 AM as a reply to Curt Welling.
Glad you found it helpful--go for it!emoticon

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/19/14 8:02 PM as a reply to B B.
BB: Kenneth has since retracted the map you linked to, and he wrote it after a former administrator at KFD compelled him put his thoughts on development down (after a bottle of wine if my memory serves me right, ha). Kenneth also never equated the 5th stage of that map with completion of the ten fetters model. I am not sure where you are getting that information from, or if it is an inference on your part. He did at one point shortly before talking about an eighth stage, put out a series of you tube videos about seven stages of enlightenment in which he compared the 7th stage to the relinquishment of the ten fetters. Sort of comical even writing it all up. Though I have had only limited contact with him and Daniel, I believe them both to be good men, who, imperfect as the rest of us, have done much to inspire others to transform their lives.
I think it's also important to look at these texts as products of their environment. They were not written down for centuries after they were given and we have no idea what their original form was and what religious and cultural forces did to the reinterpretation of the original words.



As for enlightenment, and why one should go for it, it is a question without an answer. There is no standard definition of enlightenment, and unless a concensus is reached it an empty question like asking someone whether or not they believe in God when your definition and theirs may be worlds apart.
That being said, development does happen in a continuous way even past 4th path, life does become more direct, the story line attached to emotions becomes subtler and subtler and less present, many anxieties disappear, and life becomes increasingly effortless, intimate and profound. All that is my experience. A lot of dying, letting go and grieving along the way too.

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/20/14 12:11 AM as a reply to Josh Kelly.
Alright, as someone on this site claiming full and total enlightenment, here's what I think.

First off, why get enlightened? The only reason to attempt to get enlightened is if you really genuinely want to. Any other reason will not suffice. If you try to do it for the babes you simply will not get anywhere. To get enlightened involves going through all of your suffering and pain and delusion, literally facing it all, and what's more, letting go of it, which is unpleasant. It is a painful and hard process. In order to acomplish it you need very deep motivation based on the conviction that getting to an end of confusion is literally the only thing that will help you.

The way you get such motivation is by suffering. If you are suffering, if not knowing really fricken bothers you, then you will have the motivation to attempt to get out of that situation. That's is all enlightenment is, it is out of dualistic confusion.

That brings me to my second point. You asked about what will happen at enlightenment, or what it is really. Enlightenment is the eradication of dualistic confusion. Dualistic confusion is that which makes you belief yourself a separate individual, and which stops you from being able to experience the world without conceptual filters. Is enlightenment a total bliss out or all knowingness?

Look, expect nothing more out enlightenment than the end of dualistic confusion and you will be on a good track. The fact is, enlightenment doesn't make you better than anybody else, and it also doesn't end your trials and tribulations on here on our good ol' Earth. You as an individual continue to live your life with all its ups and downs, sickness and health; only now you're aware, with no confusion, of what you are and what is occurring around you. You know at all times that you and all else is made of the same stuff and there is no separation. This is not some kind of idea, this is experiential truth.

So what I want to make clear is that you will seek the end of suffering if you are sensitive enough to your pain to be bothered, and if you seek with a realistic idea of what you will find, then you will probably do better.

And also, full enlightenment isn't just going to fall out of the sky if you meditate a bit. The whole thing about maps is going in the right direction, because there are discrete and defined stages on the way to enlightenment. Everyone is technically on the path, they are just at square 0. If you want to get to the hallowed and final square 26, you're going to have to go through the rest of the squares first. So it's a gradual journey, and if you truly pursue it, you will get a better sense of what I am talking about in degrees along the path.

Best of luck, any questions?

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/20/14 9:07 AM as a reply to Bill F..
I think it's also important to look at these texts as products of their environment.

I wouldn't have an issue with him saying that the texts are wrong in the ways outlined in my previous post, and we should simply accept that fact and move on. However, he's claiming one can interpret their meaning differently, which I'm trying to show doesn't hold up to scrutiny. It's an attempt to root in tradition what's really a radical break from tradition.

Kenneth has since retracted the map you linked to

Could you provide a source for this? Does he now include a stage where all becoming has ended? Because after all my contention was that he doesn't.

Kenneth also never equated the 5th stage of that map with completion of the ten fetters model

He states here that he believes "the Four Paths we are describing on this site are EXACTLY the same Four Paths the Buddha described". The Buddha defined Arahatship using the 10 fetters model. Kenneth's "done is what needs to be done" stage is his 4th path, is it not?

He did at one point shortly before talking about an eighth stage, put out a series of you tube videos about seven stages of enlightenment in which he compared the 7th stage to the relinquishment of the ten fetters.

Excuse me if I've misunderstood this, but he's said they're given up at stage 7, yet at stage 8 there is still a "need for social status, need to be right, need to please others"? That's a very strange use of the word "relinquishment".

Though I have had only limited contact with him and Daniel, I believe them both to be good men

Yes but you are but one man, are you not? "William Golden Finch" isn't some hive-mind of intelligent, well-known individuals from which such an opinion might carry some weight? Why do you think your opinion of them is worth hearing?

*multiple edits*

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/20/14 5:20 PM as a reply to B B.
BB: I can see the type of exchange you're interested in. It's boring to me and I don't see that much edification would come out of it. Nor was I posting as any sort of Kenneth Folk apologist. From my current understanding it seems he is largely to blame for the economic collapse of 2008, the world's depleting peak oil sources as well that polar vortex we -those of us in the better part of the United States- we're hit with a couple of weeks back. That being said, for those who are interested, Kenneth has a lot of information on the internet reflecting the changing face of his understanding of development, including two recent interviews and a number of youtube videos from a few years back.

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/20/14 7:40 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
Alright, as someone on this site claiming full and total enlightenment, here's what I think.

First off, why get enlightened? The only reason to attempt to get enlightened is if you really genuinely want to. Any other reason will not suffice. If you try to do it for the babes you simply will not get anywhere. To get enlightened involves going through all of your suffering and pain and delusion, literally facing it all, and what's more, letting go of it, which is unpleasant. It is a painful and hard process. In order to acomplish it you need very deep motivation based on the conviction that getting to an end of confusion is literally the only thing that will help you.

The way you get such motivation is by suffering. If you are suffering, if not knowing really fricken bothers you, then you will have the motivation to attempt to get out of that situation. That's is all enlightenment is, it is out of dualistic confusion.

That brings me to my second point. You asked about what will happen at enlightenment, or what it is really. Enlightenment is the eradication of dualistic confusion. Dualistic confusion is that which makes you belief yourself a separate individual, and which stops you from being able to experience the world without conceptual filters. Is enlightenment a total bliss out or all knowingness?

Look, expect nothing more out enlightenment than the end of dualistic confusion and you will be on a good track. The fact is, enlightenment doesn't make you better than anybody else, and it also doesn't end your trials and tribulations on here on our good ol' Earth. You as an individual continue to live your life with all its ups and downs, sickness and health; only now you're aware, with no confusion, of what you are and what is occurring around you. You know at all times that you and all else is made of the same stuff and there is no separation. This is not some kind of idea, this is experiential truth.

So what I want to make clear is that you will seek the end of suffering if you are sensitive enough to your pain to be bothered, and if you seek with a realistic idea of what you will find, then you will probably do better.

And also, full enlightenment isn't just going to fall out of the sky if you meditate a bit. The whole thing about maps is going in the right direction, because there are discrete and defined stages on the way to enlightenment. Everyone is technically on the path, they are just at square 0. If you want to get to the hallowed and final square 26, you're going to have to go through the rest of the squares first. So it's a gradual journey, and if you truly pursue it, you will get a better sense of what I am talking about in degrees along the path.

Best of luck, any questions?


Thanks I wonder if in your experience space is also made of that 'same stuff' To me knowing this is what I call being enlightened. Best of luck Johan

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/21/14 12:37 AM as a reply to Bill F..
William Golden Finch:
From my current understanding it seems he is largely to blame for the economic collapse of 2008, the world's depleting peak oil sources as well that polar vortex we -those of us in the better part of the United States- we're hit with a couple of weeks back.


How'd he do all that?

At least he wasn't involved in the downfall of Enron.

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/21/14 12:39 AM as a reply to B B.
B B:

I wouldn't have an issue with him saying that the texts are wrong in the ways outlined in my previous post, and we should simply accept that fact and move on. However, he's claiming one can interpret their meaning differently, which I'm trying to show doesn't hold up to scrutiny. It's an attempt to root in tradition what's really a radical break from tradition.


That is what he's saying. He's saying that the mythological parts were added on later or that they were put in to make a better story. You can be rooted in tradition without being a textual fundamentalist.

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/21/14 9:48 PM as a reply to J C.
JC: Thank you for the link. I have very little doubt that Kenneth Folk was involved in Enron on some level, if not pulling the strings himself. I don't suspect the nickname Kenron merely materialized out of thin air.

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/21/14 11:03 PM as a reply to Bill F..
William Golden Finch:
JC: Thank you for the link. I have very little doubt that Kenneth Folk was involved in Enron on some level, if not pulling the strings himself. I don't suspect the nickname Kenron merely materialized out of thin air.


Cool, I have a few questions for you:

Was Kenneth Folk responsible for any good large-scale events, or only bad ones?

How did he accomplish all these things, and how do you know it was him?

What about Daniel Ingram? Do you happen to know if he was responsible for any major world crises?

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/21/14 11:12 PM as a reply to J C.
Dudes, your getting off topic....here is a recent thread about Kenneth on the battleground....wanna take the conversation there?
http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/4708533
Just a thought,
~D

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/22/14 3:46 PM as a reply to johan christiaan hellemons.
johan christiaan hellemons:


Thanks I wonder if in your experience space is also made of that 'same stuff' To me knowing this is what I call being enlightened. Best of luck Johan


Yes, indeed all of experience is composed of that which is called emptiness. A more obvious description might be tiny vibrating molecules. Anyhow, why do you ask? Why would you call that enlightenment?

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/22/14 4:16 PM as a reply to Pål S..
Thanks, interesting stuff. Apart from the vitamins and dietary restrictions what role would you say contemplative practices have played?


Hi Pal,

Contemplative practices were very useful when I first started meditating regularly in Jan 2008. At that point the mood problems were still present and I found the concentration states extremely useful. I had figured out a way to enter the concentration states to curtail mood problems. Whenever I found myself starting to veer off mood stable territory I would use the concentration states to put me back on course and then I would have to repeat this process over and over. It was mildly time consuming, but it gave me a lot of practice in samatha/concentration as well as being the only point in time where I had obtained stability since such mood problems began. However, this created a very strong instinctual urge to begin the process of insight.

I only began to experience mental health problems again when I started specifically doing insight practices with intensive semi-long duration practice. The first time I sat for two weeks and went completely off the rails: http://www.dharmaoverground.org/web/guest/discussion/-/message_boards/message/1032824

After this incident I continued with several more long duration sits so that I could make progress, despite this kind of thing happening repeatedly with each long duration sitting period. As Daniel writes in MCTB: the dharma was doing me and not the other way around. This was a very chaotic time period in my life with mixtures of mania/psychosis and dark night/insight symptoms happening simultaneously often with psychosis-like manifestations of A&P and dark night symptoms. After completing several insight cycles the mood component began to settle down and disappear, though the psychosis part would remain with intensive sits and eventually reaching a point where I was experiencing symptoms daily without even sitting. Upon reaching the end of the insight process I found I no longer had to use samatha states for mood stability, but rather the mood stability was now a baseline, though I still had problems with psychosis symptoms and that's when I found the orthomolecular research on schizophrenia/psychosis. I also found that when the psychosis problems were prominent that I could no longer do pure samatha practice without exacerbating the symptoms.

I have now reached a point where I experience a range of attenuated emotions to no emotional reaction at all, internally, which creates a large amount of emotional stability. The vitamins, medications, and dietary restrictions keep the psychosis symptoms at bay and I am reaching a point where they are disappearing entirely. This is interesting if you read the link in my post regarding the relationship between bipolar disorder and schizophrenia where Dr. Abram Hoffer states that the schizophrenia diagnosis is stable whereas the bipolar diagnosis has the potential to drift toward the schizophrenia side of symptoms, but the reverse does not occur.

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/23/14 5:50 PM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
johan christiaan hellemons:


Thanks I wonder if in your experience space is also made of that 'same stuff' To me knowing this is what I call being enlightened. Best of luck Johan


Yes, indeed all of experience is composed of that which is called emptiness. A more obvious description might be tiny vibrating molecules. Anyhow, why do you ask? Why would you call that enlightenment?


Thanks for your reply.
I was just asking to see if there is some common ground to be found when using the socalled "fucking E-word' on
this forum.
I would not use the term tiny vibrating, molecules to describe space I'd rather say that the granularity of space is same as experience and versa.
Conceptually speaking I think of this granularity as pixels of 'emptiness' the size of a cubic plancklenght.
Cheers
Johan

Almost forgot to say that part and parcel is that there is also the sincere wish that attaining this understanding may serve for the well being of this entire planet so ultimately I did not do it only for myself.
In short if you start meditating to get there it helps to keep that in mind.emoticon

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/23/14 6:12 PM as a reply to johan christiaan hellemons.
johan christiaan hellemons:


Thanks for your reply.
I was just asking to see if there is some common ground to be found when using the socalled "fucking E-word' on
this forum.
I would not use the term tiny vibrating, molecules to describe space I'd rather say that the granularity of space is same as experience and versa.
Conceptually speaking I think of this granularity as pixels of 'emptiness' the size of a cubic plancklenght.
Cheers
Johan

Almost forgot to say that part and parcel is that there is also the sincere wish that attaining this understanding may serve for the well being of this entire planet so ultimately I did not do it only for myself.
In short if you start meditating to get there it helps to keep that in mind.emoticon


So you're enlightened eh? Just curious, what was your main meditation practice, or what tradition/lineage? Also, did you find there to be clear stages along the way, or did you rely on maps at all?

RE: Why get enlightened? Should I walk this path?
Answer
1/24/14 11:27 AM as a reply to T DC.
T DC:
johan christiaan hellemons:


Thanks for your reply.
I was just asking to see if there is some common ground to be found when using the socalled "fucking E-word' on
this forum.
I would not use the term tiny vibrating, molecules to describe space I'd rather say that the granularity of space is same as experience and versa.
Conceptually speaking I think of this granularity as pixels of 'emptiness' the size of a cubic plancklenght.
Cheers
Johan

Almost forgot to say that part and parcel is that there is also the sincere wish that attaining this understanding may serve for the well being of this entire planet so ultimately I did not do it only for myself.
In short if you start meditating to get there it helps to keep that in mind.emoticon


So you're enlightened eh? Just curious, what was your main meditation practice, or what tradition/lineage? Also, did you find there to be clear stages along the way, or did you rely on maps at all?




Well I know from my experience that there are various stages of confusion,
where the seeker may loose a sense that
there is an element of playfullness to life.
I have been lucky to have had the privilege to meet people of various leneages and some of them became my mentor
and some of them hav by now passed away and some are still my friends.
Since you ask something about maps I think the ancient concept of Leela ( wherever that may have originated)
is what I consider as currently the best way to map out the spiritual journey.
Having said that Daiels way of 'mapping out' may also be usefull.
When I watched his 'walk trough -video ' I thought yep extended/customized Jhanas that's a usefull concept.
Dark nights I don't even wanna talk about it but yes I had my share.
What else,
I think this video may be helpfull to tap into the noosphere to help to get attuned into what might be called
our collective understanding of the various ways the body mind can function.

http://youtu.be/QraTzoLYG_4

DhO Upgrade happening now! Stop posting until complete.

General

Dear All, The remarkable Manish is about to backup and upgrade Liferay to Liferay 7. This is the fundamental platform on which the DhO runs. As such, anything posted from about now (January 23, Saturday, at around noon Central Time) will likely be lost until the upgrade is complete. Thus, stop posting anything you wish to last now until this is done! Thanks! -Daniel, Owner of the DhO

 

 

Announcements Announcements